After reviewing Tom Honey’s (a.k.a. Good Weather For An Airstrike) “A Winter” EP last month, I was hooked to the music and was hoping to find more to listen to. The music striked a chord with me, as it was highly reminiscent of the feelings of winter, and after all the snowstorms in my area at the time of reviewing that EP, it was just a perfect match. Luckily, almost a week ago, Tom released this new EP, “Jigsaws”, which contains 6 tracks and almost 45 minutes of drone and ambient bliss. This is almost an evolution of the sound on “A Winter”, as though the smooth processed drones are still here, some of the tracks have a sound that recalls Tim Hecker. It is an intriguing and soothing listen that still keeps the main idea of the project: to help alleviate the issues caused by suffering from tinnitus, which causes a ringing sensation in the ear and can often result in difficulty sleeping.
“Lab” begins with Tom’s familiar processing of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, with the static-like yet evolving layers of harmonies that he is known for. It is hard to detect just what sounds or instruments that he has used (I would guess that strings have definitely been used here, though) because the sounds have been disguised so heavily that it sounds more like a shoegaze blur of lulling emotions. It’s yet another perfect example of Tom’s dronology with the GWFAA project, and opens up the album quite nicely. “February” is where it reminds me more of Tim Hecker’s works, though without all the noisy glitches that Tim implements. It starts just like a blur, but very quickly, it starts to sound subtlely rhythmic through the effects that Tom has used. Nevertheless, the rhythmic layers make a perfect contrast to the drones that occur through the piece, and it is a stand-out work. Subtle, yet immersive. “Takes Flight” is sort of a short interlude, in that it only lasts for less than 3 minutes, but yet, more drones can be found here, in which they slowly evolve to climaxes on a microscopic scale.
“In Our Small Garden” is almost 8 minutes long, and full of interesting drones. The harmonic swells in the beginning slowly envelop the listener like a blanket, and throughout the piece, it warms the listener up, layer by layer, until in the end, it slowly cools down to an end. “Together” is the longest piece on the album, running 20 minutes long, but just as soothing as the rest of the album already is. The low drones in the beginning slowly fill up the piece, until at around 5 minutes, a slow and beautiful chord progression occurs for a couple of minutes, before in the end, bell-like drones fill the gaps before ending out softly. A very SOTL-esque piece, but yet contains the GWFAA style that Tom has refined over his career. The last piece, “First Step”, sounds like an ascent into Heaven, with very beautiful harmonies along the lines of Brian Eno’s works, though occurring instead in slow motion. Beautiful drones and subtle noise fill all the gaps of the composition, with no space detectable. The middle of the piece is quiet, though in the end, a climax occurs that is very similar to many post-rock compositions, in which the sounds swell up to create a huge wall of sound, before trailing off and effectively ending the album.
Overall, Good Weather For An Airstrike’s “Jigsaws” is a spectacular album, and about just as great as the “A Winter” EP. When I had hoped to hear a longer GWFAA release, Tom answered with this album, and met all my expectations. Beautifully produced and containing some interesting rhythmic effects in “February”, this album shows a further evolution in GWFAA’s sound, and it keeps me wanting to hear more like this from him in the future. If you are looking for an album that will help induce sleep, are a fan of GWFAA, or are just a lover of ambient and drone music in general, you won’t be disappointed with this one. Highly recommended listening.
Artist: Good Weather For An Airstrike
Genre: Modern classical/ambient/drone
Released 2011 by Hawk Moon Records
Available now at: http://goodweatherforanairstrike.bandcamp.com/album/jigsaws